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Discussion Starter #1
Ok I am having some issues with my steering and need some advice. My car is a 66 with manual steering and manual brakes. I've never owned a manual steering vehicle before but I know something is not right. When I first got the car I couldn't drive over 30 mph without the car swerving almost out of control. It would veer left or right and when I would correct it it'd nearly lose control. Since then I have replaced the upper & lower control arms, outter, inner & center tie rods, coil spring insulaters & saddles, front sway bar end links & strut rod bushings along with all new brakes. it has greatly improved but the problem is still there but now it does it at about 60-70 mph and it is very scary. I guess the only things I can do is replace the pitman arm, idler arm and steering box. Is this a common problem? Will replacing the old steering parts fix it? is it even worth having my box rebuilt? Is it hard to rebuild them? If i drive slow (5-10mph) & turn the wheel and let go it won't return to center, just keeps steering??? is this normal? any help would be great. Thank you.
 

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is there a lot of play in the steering wheel under normal driving? Does the steering wheel react in the direction that the car goes in when one of these episodes occurs?
 

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Um, just a wild thought, but is the crossmember under the engine missing?

 

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Have you had an alignment done on it after replacing all of the front end parts?..The steering wheel should recenter itself after turning so either caster is off or something is binding and making the steering too stiff to return..Does the idler arm seem to move freely?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
there is some play but not an awful lot, it's really weird and kinda hard to explain. It's kinda like it's way over steering and I have to steer in small slight movements because big movements will probably end up with me dead. I only drove the car so I could get the inspection done but I have to drive it with very firm hands. I'm kinda stumped on this one.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yes the cross member is intact.
 

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No the alignment has not been done yet, waiting my new wheels and tires to come in and have it all done since i'm changing the wheel diameter. The idler arm does move freely and I don't see anything binding up. If i did the alignment now would I have to get it done again after I put my new wheels on going from a 15" to a 17" wheel? When I replaced the tie rods Matched it up to the old ones and it worked pretty good, the car dosen't pull hard to the left or right.
 

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without an alignment- good luck on fixing your problem. if you jack up the passenger side wheel off the ground and then watch the idler arm as you try and turn wheel thats off the ground- if you see it flex up/down then it needs to be replaced or re-bushed. have never seen a pitman arm that does not have a joint in it go bad. wes
 

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Discussion Starter #9
without an alignment- good luck on fixing your problem. if you jack up the passenger side wheel off the ground and then watch the idler arm as you try and turn wheel thats off the ground- if you see it flex up/down then it needs to be replaced or re-bushed. have never seen a pitman arm that does not have a joint in it go bad. wes
Ok I ordered a new idler arm just to be on the safe side so once I get that on I'll take it down to have the alignment done and hope that solves the problem. Thanks for all the insights and will update when all is done.
 

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Ok I ordered a new idler arm just to be on the safe side so once I get that on I'll take it down to have the alignment done and hope that solves the problem. Thanks for all the insights and will update when all is done.
You should have this modification done while you're about it, and us the "Shelby" wheel alignment specifications. It'll track straight and true, and handle better. Make sure you have the alignment done by someone who understands how to do it with spacers, very few techs understand this, now.

 

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Discussion Starter #11
You should have this modification done while you're about it, and us the "Shelby" wheel alignment specifications. It'll track straight and true, and handle better. Make sure you have the alignment done by someone who understands how to do it with spacers, very few techs understand this, now.


Will the "Shelby Drop" have any negative effects on using a 17x8 wheel with a 235/45R17 combo? The front & rear are stock.
 

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An old time VMFer who I knew who I haven't seen post in a very long time use to road race his 66. He knew his suspension stuff. He told me that radial tires need more caster then the bias tires that came on these cars. He said they run kinda egg shape, like you see in cartoons. He said with radial tires the contact patch is farther back and effectively reduces net caster. The less caster, the less directional stability. Maybe this is something to think about...besides doing the Arning drop.
 

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No the alignment has not been done yet, waiting my new wheels and tires to come in and have it all done since i'm changing the wheel diameter. The idler arm does move freely and I don't see anything binding up. If i did the alignment now would I have to get it done again after I put my new wheels on going from a 15" to a 17" wheel? When I replaced the tie rods Matched it up to the old ones and it worked pretty good, the car dosen't pull hard to the left or right.
Your answer is in your first sentence. Alignment is everything on a Mustang.
It really is that cut & dried. You can have EVERYTHING right on the money,
no play in the parts etc, and the car drives funky because the alignment
isn't right. I almost sold a very low mileage '66 GT with well over $30,000
worth of the best parts available on the car and the thing was spooky on
the highway.... it was the alignment.
You'll want as much positive caster as you can stand. I like at least 2, if
not 3 degrees.... even with manual steering.
I can't overemphasize getting the "right" mechanic doing the alignment.

Going from one wheel/tire size to another will necessitate re-aligning the
car.

ex-Global West GM
1991-1994
 

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Ok I ordered a new idler arm just to be on the safe side so once I get that on I'll take it down to have the alignment done and hope that solves the problem. Thanks for all the insights and will update when all is done.
FYI, I had to buy a new idler arm bracket to go with my new repro idler arm. The repro idler would not fit on my original bracket.
 
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